AbstractAfter a brief lecture on historical data and methodology, students watch the "Crazy Horse Photo" episode of the PBS show "History Detectives" (Season 7 episode 5) and then participate in a guided class discussion. This activity reinforces their understanding of core methodological terms and validity concerns that are specific to historical data.
- Subject Area(s):
- Research Methods
- Resource Type(s):
- Class Activity, Video
- Class Level(s):
- College 200
- Class Size(s):
Usage NotesI use this class activity in a semester-long undergraduate research methods course that introduces students to common methods employed by social scientists. Prior to watching the video (episodes are ~15-20 minutes long and available at http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/), I give a brief lecture on why sociologists do historical research, different...
Learning Goals and Assessments
- To strengthen their understanding of why historical research is an important methodology.
- To reinforce student’s knowledge of the difference between primary sources and secondary sources, and the difference between internal and external criticism.
- To demonstrate that the skills learned in a methods course have relevance outside the classroom and elicit deeper interest in research methodology among students.
- I assess understanding of the importance of historical research by asking students who Crazy Horse was, and asking them to imagine that the photo was of him. How would it transform our understanding of the past and alter how we view the present?
- After viewing the episode, I ask students whether the artifacts were primary or secondary sources, and have them tell me examples of the internal and external criticisms used to assess the artifacts.
- During the video and class discussion, student interest and participation is closely monitored.